Sophia: A Celebration of the Wisdom of the Women of MTSO

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A Collection of poems, articles, and reflections written by the women and friends of MTSO.

Transcript of Sophia: A Celebration of the Wisdom of the Women of MTSO

  • Sophia:

    Celebrating the Wisdom

    of the Women of MTSO

    Spring 2013

  • 2

    About the Front Cover:

    Sophia () is a female name derived from the Greek word for "Wisdom. Photo taken by: Laura White at the Association of Arulagam in Tamil Nadu, India. The Association of Arulagam (House of Grace)- Arulagam is a Tamil word which means grace. The Association of Arulagam accepts women who are sexually abused, rejected by society and their families. The womens center creates a space where women and children can be accepted and enabled. In January of 2012, the cross cultural group from MTSO were honored to visit the center and meet some of the women who live and work there. While there the MTSO students learned that a perimeter wall on the property was in need of repair. The crumbling wall was causing security and privacy issues for the residents of the center. MTSO students were able to provide the necessary funds for the wall to be repaired.

    About the Back Cover:

    Illustrated by: Sarah Wells, friend of MTSO and employee of

    Worthington Christian Village.


    Marion Correctional Institute for donating time and resources for the printing of the hard copies. Nicole Pickens- for lessons in formatting. Shirley Nyhan- for help with proofreading and editing. The Women of CL/CE 275- for various acts of assistance! Rev. Dr. Lisa Withrow, Lauren Dennis-Bucholz, Sara Hill, Mary Kerns, Jeeyong Kim, Claudine Leary, Jenni Meyers, Whitney Prose, Stepheny Ransom.

    Thank You,

    Laura White

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    Table of Contents:

    Forward page By: Laura White 4 Womens Manifesto By: CL/CE 275 Sp 13 5 Community By: Nancy Shute 6 A Prayer By: Lauren Dennis-Bucholz 10 A Journey of Infertility By: Jenni Meyers 11 Faith By: Linnette Wise 14 My Call as a Licensed Local Pastor By: Teresa Smolka 15 Cute Shoes By: Carol Williams-Young 18 Afro-Mexicana

    By: Racquel F. Welch 19 We Are Baptised By: Emily Cannon 20 A Sacristans Prayer By: Deborah Caulk 21

    Mizuko Kyou () and the US Abortion Debate By: Whitney Prose 22 The Continuous Call By: Sara Hill 24 A Collection of First Person Narrative Sermons By: Mary Loring 25 With Ease By: Betty Bennington 33 La Patita Fea By: Racquel F. Welch 34 It can be tempting to return to the comfort of our old skin By: Grace Welch 35 Clergy Spouses Unite By: Ray White 37

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    The Complexities of Pantyhose behind the Pulpit!

    By: Laura White

    M.Div. 13

    I am not sure when it first happened, that moment of realization that I will forever be known as

    the lady pastor. It must have snuck up on me like a soft whisper. Or perhaps it was there from

    the very beginning and I simply refused to see it. The only thing that I know for certain is that it is

    there now and no matter how hard I try to ignore it, it will not be silent.


    Ive never seen a lady pastor before these were the words of a very kind teen boy. His words

    came after I had officiated at a very long, rainy and windy graveside service. It would be the last graveside

    services that I would I naively wear high heels and a long flowing skirt to officiate in. Thankfully, no one saw

    the less-than-graceful fall which occurred when I stepped out of the hearse, my heel sinking in the mud

    causing my body to propel forward down the steep ditch and landing headlong into a tombstone.

    That was also the day in which I discovered the true beauty and strength of women in

    community. One look at their disheveled pastor (now back at the church) and the ladies who had been

    cooking the funeral dinner came to the rescue, cleaning up my appearance and my bruised pride. It was the

    compassion of Sara (all names have been changed) which would leave the most lasting impression. Sara was

    the widow of the former pastor. Her husband had been a pastor at the church for close to ten years and he

    had passed away the previous winter. Sara laughed and giggled with me joking about how her husband had

    never had to deal with pantyhose behind the pulpit. Her compassion and empathy that day calmed my frayed

    nerves. It is the memory of this moment which has continued to calm my frustration as I navigate the realities

    of being the lady pastor.

    It was this moment that helped me to answer a male colleague when he complained about the fact

    that the district clergy women met for a monthly breakfast. He wanted to know why we had to have a special

    time apart if we want to have equal rights. I looked at him and said, We need this time apart to discuss the

    complexities of wearing pantyhose behind the pulpit. My strange sense of humor was lost on my colleague

    but not on his wife who smiled and winked at me.

    The truth is that our monthly clergy women breakfast provides us with a community which

    provides strength for the journey. It was my sisters in ministry who helped me to figure out what to do with

    the pulpit microphone which is made to clip onto a tie or a collar and the other end which must be placed in

    a pocket (two things that most of my girl clothes do not have). They also agonized and laughed with me

    over the concern of my congregation that the tone of my voice was higher than my predecessor, making it

    difficult for older members to hear. I still have not managed to lower the tone of my voice but somehow we

    muddle on. My sisters in ministry shared similar stories when I shared my frustration after a dcom meeting in

    which a colleague was concerned about the feminization of the church because I had used dancing as an

    analogy for faith in the sermon which I had submitted.

    It is in the sharing of the story within the community that we find our strength and solidarity. It is my

    hope that as you read the reflections, articles, sermons and poems in the following pages that you will find the

    comfort and strength that you need to amplify your own voice in the world.

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    We, the women, declare that God created all humans with intrinsic worth. God calls us to rise and fully live as God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer intends.

    We craft this manifesto recognizing it is incomplete and must be updated by those who

    follow us. We recognize that no written document can represent the living reality of a


    o We recognize that gender is defined differently in all times, places, contexts, among

    individuals, and even in an individuals daily life. We stand in solidarity with the

    female sex throughout these transitions. Naturally and socially constructed gender

    differences are a reality and should be used to complement one another rather than

    promote harm.

    We are beautiful, but we are not for display, for sale, or as sex objects.

    We are h